Spot the twitchers and steam train fans at the Shoulder of Mutton in Strumpshaw

Pub of the week, Shoulder of Mutton, Strumpshaw. Ben Jones and Sophie Stafford, left with Sheila Jam

Pub of the week, Shoulder of Mutton, Strumpshaw. Ben Jones and Sophie Stafford, left with Sheila Jamieson- Jones and Martin Jamieson .Photo: Steve Adams

Publicans need all the help they can get in troubled times, and when there are two big visitor attractions in the area, they can count their lucky stars.

Birdwatchers and fans of steam trains make a beeline to the Shoulder of Mutton, a popular, community local, in Strumpshaw.

The village boasts Strumpshaw Fen, which is a nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

And the Strumpshaw Steam Museum houses what is believed to be the largest private collection of steam engines in the UK.

Dog walkers are also frequent guests at this local, which is leased to Martin Jamieson and Sheila Jamieson-Jones, and managed by her son, Ben Jones, and Sophie Stafford.

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It is owned by Annie Miller and Rod Brown, who ran it for several years from about 1986, but have been on the other side of the bar for the last seven years.

They are still frequent customers, however, and Mrs Miller said: 'When we moved here it was like going back 50 years. It's what's called a community pub.'

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The pub has flourishing cribbage, darts, pool and petanque teams.

The leaseholders also run Mambo Jambos restaurant in Norwich, and Mambos bar and grill in Ipswich.

When they moved in, they renovated the pub, built a new bar, and kept its traditional feel, while also adding live music once a month and sport on the TV.

Mrs Jamieson-Jones said: 'This was our local when we lived in Cantley for about 10 years. It happened by chance that we took it on. When the last tenant was leaving, the people running it, who were our friends, invited us to look at it.

'I had always wanted to run a little country pub. We have listened to what the regulars want and I think there's a future for this kind of pub. We have got a big charity event coming up on Sunday, August 25 with music and a rodeo bull, and The He Hews are playing.

'And we will do food on Christmas Day, which they have not done before.'

One of the traditions at the pub is for some of the regulars to come over on Sunday mornings to have cheese and biscuits with Mr Jones, who is keen to continue it.

Both Mr Jones and Miss Stafford enjoy the social aspects of the job, and Miss Stafford previously worked at the Oaklands hotel in Thorpe St Andrew.

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